Documentary to Raise Awareness About Sex Trade in Banchara Community

atin mehra

Former New York Film Academy Filmmaking student, Atin Mehra, is currently in the final stages of an ambitious and worthwhile documentary, Bulbul: Song of the Nightingale. Now in its editing phase, the Orange Kite Productions film is seeking funds to complete post-production. The goal of the documentary is to raise awareness about the Banchara community and their struggle with a long-standing tradition of caste-based prostitution.

“Due to the caste-trade of prostitution, girls as young as 10-years-old are forced into the sex trade and boys grow up their entire lives without the opportunity to work and earn living wages,” said Atin Mehra. “Entire families depend upon the work of the young girls in the trade.”

Atin is raising funds through a crowd source funding campaign on Indiegogo, which can be found here.

Bulbul: Song of the Nightingale documents the life of a young Banchara girl living off National Highway 79 in Madhya Pradesh, India. At twelve-years-old, Bulbul already stands at a crossroads. Bulbul’s tribe, the Banchara, has existed at the bottom of Indian society for centuries, relying on prostitution as their economic lifeblood. A continued lack of options allows this practice to persist. Generation upon generation of the tribe has experienced social, political and economic exclusion from Indian society. The documentary explores caste and untouchability through the life experience of Bulbul.

“As we spent three months following Bulbul within her community, we came to realize that the documentary itself served as a means of empowerment for the community. This film aims to raise global awareness of the struggles of the Banchara tribe, thereby encouraging dialogue and engagement of human and financial capital toward an alternative means of economic livelihood for this community.” – Atin Mehra

Director Atin Mehra was born and raised in Varanasi, India and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Early in his career as a filmmaker and photographer, Atin worked with female victims of dowry burnings in hospitals in his native Varanasi. Beginning in 2002 he collaborated with French filmmakers to produce and shoot his first work in documentary film, Mitti ke Jivan (The Cycle of Clay). Since that time, Atin has grown as a storyteller and filmmaker, partnering with international broadcasters and independent artists to tell stories that span both a wide array of genres and viewing audiences.

Atin’s personal understanding of caste discrimination in India, the close relationship he developed overtime with the Banchara community and his passion for documentary filmmaking, all make it possible for him to share this story with the world.

More information on the documentary can be found on their website: www.bulbulthedocumentary.com. Sponsored through the International Documentary Association, all donations made to the project are tax deductible. In the coming months, as the team works to complete the film, they will also work to collaborate across sectors to bring the Banchara story to the global stage. All inquiries on the project can be directed to peddledbodies@gmail.com.

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